February 27, 2012

So I Skipped Prayer Meeting

Two weeks ago, I skipped our church’s prayer meeting. It was a matter of emotional health: I couldn’t stop crying, plus a missionary was scheduled to show a video about orphans. As a mommy with a toddler living in an orphanage on the other side of the world, I just couldn’t face watching it. So, my husband told me to skip.

I stayed home. I ate dinner. I did the dishes. I prayed. I read a book. I had what Oprah might call “me time.”

It could become a very nasty habit.

Among our friends and neighbors, and even among other believers, skipping church meetings is normal. I can count very few people of my acquaintance who rarely miss (and I’m so thankful for those saints who don’t!)

But, more disturbing to me, is the number of ministry women I have known who are not committed to showing up. I have known pastor’s wives, intern’s wives, and seminary wives who frequently chose not to come to worship. This is not good.

If you are one of these women, you are probably about to tell me that God is the God of grace and that attendance isn’t everything. You might say that simply showing up has no saving merit. You probably think I sound judgmental.

I won’t throw Hebrews 10:25 at you (“not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some.”) Instead, let’s forget the attendance record and allow ourselves to be spurred on by 5 Good Reasons to Show Up.

1. It’s Not That Hard My friend’s husband is a partner in an advertising firm, and she has to do plenty of showing up. In fact, she has to buy fancy dresses for formal events, remember the names of people she rarely sees, and travel long distances for very late nights. By contrast, showing up to church is simply not that hard.

Do I have a five-year-old and a three-year-old who were born in sin? Yes. But we can all show up together, wearing normal clothes, to fellowship with people we know and love. Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights are tough. But not that tough.

2. It’s Good for the Church Body The week I skipped prayer meeting, I missed opportunities to come alongside my church family in love and prayer. And, I missed a chance to benefit from their encouragement.

3. It’s Good for Your Kids We’ve talked extensively in other posts about how being at church is the best possible place for the souls of kids.

4. It’s Good for Your Husband Much has been made in recent years of the idea that men need and desire respect from their wives. Sitting under his ministry at the meetings of the church is an excellent way to give him honor.

5. It’s Good for Your Soul In the end, no amount of “me time” will have the eternal value of gathering with God’s people to praise His name. Psalm 133 is a psalm of Ascents, a psalm to sing on the way to worship, and it reminds us: “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity. . . For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.”

Looking for blessing? It’s a good reason to show up.


  1. Thanks for the reminder. In my area of the country, it is not popular to attend even Sunday morning worship. (See http://www.sundaywomen.com/2011/09/northern-exposure.html) So, we have to fight against the cultural norms.

  2. Oh how right you are!! Several years ago my husband was on staff at a church nearly two hours from where we lived. The hope was to move to that town within six months, but for the time being the drive was necessary. I was floored when someone at the church informed me that they didn't expect to see me all that much. Yes, I had a two-year-old and an infant. But, it never occurred to me to take the girls somewhere closer while my husband went off to minister there. That church's mentality, though, was that it was okay for me to either skip or be involved in a different church. It broke my heart. Out of necessity I missed some services in our short time there, and I have missed services since then. I'd be lying if I said that sometimes staying home hasn't been really, really nice. But, I think that experience jolted me into making a conscious effort to not make missing services a habit.

  3. Agree. I personally think that occassional me time is healthy and neccessary, but doing more often than really needed could turn into a nasty habit. I know, because I'm a single woman who enjoy my time alone, and I've noticed that as years go by, the me time grew into a selfish big chunk of my time. I'm struggling to make a change now, creating a more balance life, with God's help, of course.

    Visit me:
    LeeAnne, Style N Season

  4. I ran into this satirical post a few weeks back and had to laugh... but secretly, I could understand someone doing this...not to skip worship mind you, but to avoid all the drama in the hateful congregation. Maybe it will make you laugh too. http://www.larknews.com/archives/241


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